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Ménage à Troi (episode)

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"Ménage à Troi"
TNG, Episode 3x24
Production number: 40273-172
First aired: 28 May 1990
71st of 176 produced in TNG
71st of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
178th of 728 released in all
Betazed surface
Written By
Fred Bronson & Susan Sackett

Directed By
Robert Legato
43930.7 (2366)
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A Ferengi DaiMon kidnaps Riker, Deanna, and Lwaxana Troi.


"Captain's log, stardate 43930.7. The Enterprise has been in attendance at the biennial trade agreements conference on Betazed. For the first time, the Ferengi are present, and I have reluctantly consented to their boarding the Enterprise for the closing reception."

Commander Riker plays a version of three-dimensional chess against Nibor as Algolian ceremonial rhythms play around them. He wins comfortably, and the Ferengi claims to have been distracted by the music.

Meanwhile, Lwaxana Troi tries once again to assist in Deanna Troi's love life. However, it is she who is "found exotic" by DaiMon Tog, much to initial skepticism of Doctor Farek. When Tog attempts to proclaim his affections to her, as well as being interested in her Betazoid telepathy, she very loudly spurns him, humiliating him in front of the entire reception. He does not give up, however, finding her "exhilarating."

Later, when Deanna and Riker are visiting on Betazed, they revisit a place they visited often, when Riker was stationed on Betazed. When they briefly kiss, however, Lwaxana interrupts. Deanna asks how she knew about this place and Lwaxana tells her that her father used to bring her there. Lwaxana has Mr. Homn lay out a picnic, and just after he leaves to pick some berries, DaiMon Tog beams down and attempts to persuade Lwaxana again, but is forced to kidnap all three of them by beaming them back to his ship and knocking them unconscious.

When the three of them awaken, they are far away from their previous position, out of range of Riker's combadge, in a prison cell. When their consciousness state is noticed, Tog transports Deanna and Lwaxana to a new compartment – without their clothes. After looking them over, he returns Deanna to the cell, and attempts to seduce Lwaxana. She plays along, believing she can control him.

Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher has passed his written exam, and will go to Starfleet Academy to take his oral exam. He is concerned – upon observations of Data and Geordi La Forge – that, when he graduates, the Enterprise may not be here to serve on or Captain Picard may be gone.

Nibor and Krayton crewman play chess

Nibor and a Ferengi crewmember playing chess.

Commander Riker attempts to play the alien chess game with the Ferengi guarding their cell, and uses that to talk his way out of the cell. He soon defeats the Ferengi, knocking him out shortly thereafter. He tries to contact the Enterprise. Unfortunately, the communications array requires Tog's access code, so Lwaxana attempts to get the code from Tog.

Back on the Enterprise, Picard learns that Riker, Deanna, and Lwaxana have disappeared.

When Lwaxana asks for Tog's access code, Farek stops him just in time from breaching ship's security. With the blackmail of being reported, the doctor persuades Tog to let him use mind probes on her so as to duplicate her telepathic powers. This could kill her, but Tog reluctantly agrees.

When Farek is about to begin the neural scan, Riker looks for a minor subsystem, something not protected by the codes, and selects warp field phase adjustment. He then sends out a signal by dampening and un-dampening the subspace interference suppressor. He uses it to send a message he thinks the Enterprise will understand.

Meanwhile, Wesley is nearly late for his rendezvous with the USS Bradbury to go to the Academy. He barely has time to hear a scan for Ferengi signals – which are encoded – before rushing off to the transporter pad. He is about to transport when he realizes that a noise he heard in the background was familiar. He rushes back to the captain and informs him of his discovery – but misses his rendezvous with the ship. However, the pattern he heard is the Algolian ceremonial rhythms that the musician played at the reception. It was Riker's signal. Picard quickly plots a course toward the source.

Riker, on the ship, manages to stop the experiment, but not hold off Tog as well. Lwaxana then negotiates an agreement: Riker and Deanna are let go, but Lwaxana will stay with him of her own free will.

Once the two of them are safely aboard the Enterprise, Deanna protests her mother's actions. Picard hails the Ferengi ship, and Lwaxana makes it clear that, "it's over between us, Jean-Luc". It is a hint that Lwaxana wants him to fight for her. Picard recites one of Shakespeare's sonnets and acts with an insane jealous rage, threatening to destroy the Ferengi ship. He begins to count down to the time when he will destroy them, continuing to recite Shakespeare between each number. When four seconds remain, Tog relents and beams her to the Enterprise bridge.

USS Enterprise-D crew, 2366-67

The senior staff welcomes newly-commissioned Ensign Crusher to their midst

Lwaxana attempts to continue with the charade, but Picard wants nothing to do with it. He orders Wesley to set a course for Betazed – at warp nine.

Captain Picard tells Wesley about how he and the commandant of Starfleet Academy are sorry that he missed the transport but hope he will reapply. Wesley states that he fully intends to. However Picard says that in his eyes, Wesley is an acting ensign in title only and then decides to grant Wesley a field promotion to a full ensign. Wesley changes into his new uniform, takes his position at the conn, and the Enterprise sets off toward their rendezvous with the USS Zapata.

Memorable Quotes

"I remember that sound, and all the good times we had....."
"I remember a certain junior officer meeting a very serious psychologist. The best part about being assigned to Betazed."

- Riker and Troi enjoying a walk in a park on Betazed

"Of course Mr Homn and I could go home if you two would like to be alone? It's such a romantic place..."
"Mother, stop it."

- Lwaxana Troi and Deanna Troi about Riker

"Why have you removed our clothing?"
"Females do not deserve the honor of clothing."

- Deanna Troi after finding herself and her mother naked in front of Farek

"Where are we?"
"From the smell of things, I'd say we're aboard a Ferengi vessel."

- Lwaxana Troi and Riker

"Lwaxana Troi, you will be mine."

- Tog

"My love is a fever, longing still for that which longer nurseth the disease, in faith I do not love thee with mine eyes for they in thee a thousand errors see; but 'tis my heart, that loves what they despise, who in despite of view, are pleased to dote. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

- Picard, quoting Shakespeare's sonnets while attempting to rescue Lwaxana Troi from DaiMon Tog

"Mr. Crusher, set course for Betazed." (sotto voce) "Warp 9."

- Picard, after rescuing Lwaxana Troi

"Do you wish to leave orbit, sir?"
"Not until we have someplace to go."

- Data and Picard

"The Academy's loss is our gain. The Enterprise will continue to benefit from your talents for another year... You see, Wesley, in my eyes, you are an acting ensign in title only. (slight pause) I hereby grant you a field promotion to full ensign with all the commensurate responsibilities and privileges of that rank."

- Picard, when promoting Wesley Crusher from acting ensign to "full" ensign

"Let's get one thing straight, little man. I am not for sale. And if, by some chance, I were to become available, I would rather eat Orion wing slugs than deal with a toad-faced troll like you! So go away and find yourself somebody else to become your property!"

- Lwaxana Troi, to Tog

"Little one?! You called me that when I was five! Now stop demeaning me and address me as an adult!!"

- Deanna Troi, to Lwaxana Troi

"Doesn't he realize that I am a daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed? Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx?"
"The Sacred Chalice of Rixx is an old clay pot with mold growing inside it."

- Lwaxana Troi and Deanna Troi

Background Information

Story and script

  • The working title of the episode was "Piece of Mind". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
  • Co-writer Susan Sackett commented, "It's a comedy. It's not Shakespeare. We pitched a lot of stories and the last one was Mrs. Troi. At first, we were going to do O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief and it kind of evolved. We developed the story and the premise with Gene and he helped make the characters believable." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • The script received an uncredited rewrite by Melinda Snodgrass, Richard Manning and Hans Beimler. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • In 2012, Ronald D. Moore remembered Gene Roddenberry performed a rewrite on "Ménage à Troi" and added a questionable description of fruit during the picnic scene on Betazed; "Mrs. Troi reaches into the picnic basket and brings out an oskoid, which is a long cylindrical piece of fruit with veins going down the side and offers it to Riker to take a bite." (TNG Season 3 Blu-ray "Inside the Writer's Room" special feature)
  • This episode marks the first time that the cochrane, the unit of subspace distortion is mentioned. The term was coined by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda as a reference to Zefram Cochrane. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 144)
  • During Picard's speech he quotes the following Shakespeare verses:
    • "My love is a fever, longing still, For that which longer nurseth the disease..." - Shakespeare Sonnet 147;
    • "In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, For they in thee a thousand errors see [note]; But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise, Who in despite of view are [is] pleased to dote..." -Shakespeare Sonnet 141;
    • "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate..." - Shakespeare Sonnet 18;
    • "Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove." - Shakespeare Sonnet 116;
    • "When I have plucked the [thy] rose, I cannot give it vital growth again It needs must [must needs] wither" Othello, Act V, scene ii
    • "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." - This is not Shakespeare but from Alfred Tennyson's 'In Memoriam A.H.H.' Canto 27.


Colin Powell

General Colin Powell with LeVar Burton on the bridge.

Slutsker and Roddenberry

Peter Slutsker and Gene Roddenberry on set


  • Director Robert Legato remembers, "The script was written by Gene Roddenberry's secretary [Susan Sackett, along with her partner, Fred Bronson], and Gene's wife [Majel Barrett] was in it, so he was on the set all the time. It made me nervous. The first day, when I had to get out there and tell everyone what to do, I looked out the corner of my eye to see how Gene was reacting. But they were so nice. Gene was so supportive, and Majel was great; if you want to try it three different ways, she will. In that particular show, there were so many visitors while we were shooting. In the episode, Wesley becomes an ensign. Gene wanted to give Wil the ensign bars he received from the Navy 30 years ago, so there was this ceremony for that. Colin Powell [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] showed up, and when someone that big arrives, a whole entourage comes along." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 19, p. 44)
  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 14, pp. 43-46.
  • This episode is the origin of a snapshot of Picard with a stretched-out hand which circulates the web as an Internet meme. It is the sequence where Picard is reciting the love sonnet to Lwaxana (specifically when he recites the line "shall I compare thee to a summer's day?").[1]


  • In Star Trek: Insurrection, Deanna Troi tells Riker that she has never kissed him with a beard before, however you can see the two kissing briefly before Lwaxana Troi interrupts.
  • Ethan Phillips (Dr. Farek) later played Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager, as well as a holographic maître d' in Star Trek: First Contact and Ulis in ENT: "Acquisition".
  • Reittan Grax refers to Betazoids as Betazeds in the episode's opening scene.
  • Lwaxana later tells Odo about this event while they are trapped in a turbolift in DS9: "The Forsaken".
  • Portions from one of the scenes in Ten Forward were juxtaposed into the Ten Forward scene used in ENT: "These Are the Voyages...".
  • A large piece of equipment in DaiMon Tog's room was previously seen as the warp core of the USS Hathaway in TNG: "Peak Performance".
  • The irregularly-shaped opening of the Ferengi holding cell was later re-used on the Talarian observation craft.
  • Two costumes from the first season were reused in this episode: Yareena's catsuit was worn by a conference guest and Anne Jameson's dress was worn by the female Bolian.
  • The Ferengi hand phaser makes its first appearance in this episode.
  • The Ferengi sexual practice of oo-mox also makes its first appearance in this episode.
  • Despite previous instances where Troi indicates that she is able to empathically sense Ferengi, (TNG: "The Last Outpost", "The Battle", "The Price") this episode establishes that Betazoids cannot read Ferengi. This inability is later referenced in TNG: "The Loss" and DS9: "The Forsaken".
  • This is the first episode in which Betazed itself is shown on screen, the planet scenes were previously used to depict Mintaka III in TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers". TNG: "Dark Page" also shows the Troi home on Betazed, but only in flashback, making its appearance here the only "real" depiction in Trek lore.
  • The title of this episode is a play on the French term, Ménage à trois meaning "household (or party) of three", often in reference to sexual acts between three people.
  • Among the representatives seen at the reception in Ten Forward are a Klingon, Mizarian, Selay, Vulcan and Zakdorn.
  • Wesley Crusher is given a field commission at the end of this episode and is made a full ensign. It is the first episode where he is seen wearing a Starfleet uniform in the regular time line. An alternate version of Wesley wore the uniform in TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise". The uniform is similar to the two-piece uniforms the senior staff normally wears, rather than the spandex version (with the colored piping on the shoulders) that was still worn by most crew members at this point in the series.
  • Deanna Troi debuts her gray and lavender casual attire in the final scene of this episode.
  • The first UK airdate was on the 15th April 1992.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars



2341; Algolian; Algolian musical instrument; Arcturian; Arcturian fizz; As You Like It; Betazed; Bolian; Bradbury, USS; Cochrane distortion; Cochrane (unit), D'Kora-class; Federation; Ferengi; Foley; Galaxy-class; Gamma Erandi Nebula; Hahn; Krayton; Lappa IV; Muktok plant; neural scan; Oo-mox; Orion wing-slug; Oskoid; priority one; Sacred Chalice of Rixx; Shakespeare, William; Sonnet 147; Starfleet Academy; three-dimensional chess; Trade Agreements Conference; tricorder; Troi, Ian Andrew; troll; uttaberry; watt; Xanthras III; Xanthras system; Zakdorn; Zan Periculi; Zapata, USS

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